State governors in Nigeria have said they cannot afford the N30,000 minimum wage demanded by the country’s organised labour union.
They said this in reaction to the allegation of Peter Ozo-Eson, general secretary of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), that governors who are against N30,000 minimum wage took such stance because they diverted the bailout funds paid to them by the federal government.
He said the union expected the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) to probe the governors.
Reacting, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, head, media and public affairs of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) described the comment as “misleading and in bad faith.”
The statement said the governors would have been happy to pay the amount demanded by the NLC but financial constraints being experienced in some states would make it impossible to do so.
“The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) wishes to make it categorically clear that the insinuations by the Nigeria Labor Congress, NLC, through an interview granted by its Secretary General, Peter Eson, that governors are refusing to pay the N30.000 national minimum wage as demanded by NLC, is not only mischievous, but misleading and in bad faith,” the statement read.
“Governors have collectively made it abundantly clear that they would have been happy to pay workers the N30,000 but times are hard and because of financial constraints and other limitations, many states cannot afford it, for now.
“The N22,500 was arrived at, after extensive deliberations among all 36 governors, outlining their financial capacities and liquidity, considering the economic situation of the country and the states’ other obligations to the majority of the people of their various domains.
“Governors also emphasized that N22,500 is a ‘baseline threshold’, meaning that any governor who can pay more than N22.500 is therefore free to go ahead and do so.
“To put the records straight, governors are not under any obligation, by law, to show their books to the NLC. But they have, in their pursuit of the understanding of the union, done so, not once, but several times over, with a view to letting NLC know that what they are asking for is neither realistic nor sustainable. Yet, NLC remains adamant that its will must be done, or the heavens will fall.”